September is National Baby Safety Month, a good excuse to finally get around to all the housekeeping you’ve been meaning to do in order to make your home safer. A lot of things you can do seem like common sense once you read them, but they can save you a lot of trouble.
One thing I learned back in Home Economics class was that stoves are infinitely fascinating for children (and also cats, but that’s a different blog). Stoves and the attention that we as adults pay to them make children understandably curious. I may not have learned much else in that class other than how to make a gingerbread house that will last a decade, but I know that this knowledge is something I gained from Mrs. Gulden: always turn your pot handles to the inside of the stove. Why? Because some intrepid little explorer might decide to jump up and grab a pot full of boiling water. I also learned that those awesome towels that my grandmother made out of half a tea towel with a crocheted hook on them to connect securely to the oven handle were dangerous. Since they don’t fall off the oven handle like a regular kitchen towel, they act like a pull tab and can give a child enough leverage to pull open the oven door on herself. Ouch.
It might seem silly to crawl around your house on hands and knees in preparation for having a baby, but that’s the best way to identify unsafe spots in your house. Corners of tables can really hurt, so a set of corner bumpers can go a long way towards preventing bruises. Also outlet covers. These nifty devices are plastic and fit securely inside the prong holes in outlets. Since they’re plastic, they don’t conduct electricity, and because they’re almost entirely flush with the outlets, little humans who don’t have great manual dexterity can’t manage to pull them out in order to stick their fingers in the outlet. Some manufacturers have also come out with tamper resistant wall outlets.
Safety locks are another great idea for cabinets and drawers to prevent kids from getting in where they’re not supposed to. If you store your cleaning products under the sink, either install a lock or move your items to a high shelf so that children don’t accidentally ingest the chemicals.
You can use baby gates to keep your little ones out of unsafe areas. These are especially useful at the top of flights of stairs, or even to keep your toddler and your dog separate when you aren’t watching. Dog Bite Prevention Week is in May, but it’s never a bad time to learn your dog’s signals and to teach your children how to respect limits. Some signs of a nervous dog are easy to interpret, like if he has his tail tucked up between his legs, but did you know that lip licking and turning away are also signs? And if you can see the whites of your dog’s eyes, there’s a very good chance that he’s highly unsettled. A nervous dog is more likely to react inappropriately, so be sure to always supervise your little ones and pets.
If you own firearms, consider a safe with a keypad lock so that you can keep your personal protection devices out of the hands of your children. And actually, a fireproof safe is a great idea to house your wills, passports, first issue comics, and other valuables just in case.
Your baby is the best thing in your life, so you want to do everything to keep your little one safe.
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2015